Budgeting for Chimney Care: Your Cost Guide
How much does it cost to fix a leaky chimney?
How much should I expect to pay for a chimney sweeping and inspection?
What’s the cost of a crown repair?
Is a chimney relining expensive?
How much does it cost to waterproof a chimney?
When you need to have chimney maintenance, cleaning, or repairs done, it’s natural to wonder: What’s a fair price?
Maybe you got multiple quotes and were blown away by how much the quotes differed. One chimney professional provided an estimate that seems too high, so you called another company for a second opinion, and their price was completely different.
Frustrated, you called a third company, hoping to gain some clarity. But alas, their estimate was somewhere in the middle of the first and second, and you’re more unsure than ever. How do you know who to go with? Is one company trying to rip you off? Is another so bad that they have to charge a super low price just to get work? Ugh.
Well, we know it’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but ultimately, figuring out what you can expect to pay (and what’s a fair price) for a chimney repair, sweeping, or inspection isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
It’s not like heading to Amazon and looking for a product. Costs (and quality) can vary greatly.
But breathe easy, because we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate costs, budget for chimney care, and understand what might influence a quote.
Let’s get started.
What Affects Chimney Care Costs & Quotes?
The truth is, pricing for common chimney repair and maintenance services ranges greatly because of…
#1 Location – The cost of doing business for a small company in rural Kansas is lower than the cost of doing business for a large, multi-truck company in a metro area like Boston. So, naturally, costs for the same repair may differ greatly from region to region.
#2 Material + Time – Relining and chimney repair costs vary depending on the quality and longevity of the materials used. One company may quote you significantly less than another but be using ‘quick fixes’ and sub-par materials.
#3 Expertise + Training – When it comes to services that involve skill, training, and expertise, a lot of times you get what you pay for. For example, when you go to a Master Stylist, you can expect to pay more than you would if you went to a cosmetology school student. They’re both cutting or coloring your hair, and they may even be using identical products. That doesn’t matter. What you’re paying for with the Master Stylist is their experience and knowledge – and you’ll likely end up with better, faster results. Well, it’s the same with a chimney sweep and repair company. If the company has the best techs and has invested in their ongoing education and training, that can affect costs – but you’ll likely be much happier with the results and the time it takes to get those results.
#4 The Experience – Even if you can get the same results from two different companies, the journey to those results matters. The experience you’ll have with a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep® will likely be very different from the one you’ll have with someone who hasn’t invested in certification and training for themselves or their team – someone who hasn’t promised to adhere to a strict code of ethics. The experience matters, so look for certification and good reviews.
Now that we’ve covered a few of the main things that can impact pricing, let’s talk about just how much costs can vary and what you might expect to pay for chimney cleanings, inspections, relining, and other common repairs…
How Much Can Costs *Really* Vary for Common Chimney Services & Repairs?
Even within the CSIA-certified community, costs will vary because of materials, cost of doing business, time required, experience, and difficulty. To give you an idea of just how much costs can vary, we reached out to some chimney pros in various parts of the country to ask what they’d charge for several common services.
Let’s take a look at the ranges for common services:
- Chimney Sweep & Inspection: $175-$449
- Damper Install: $200-$600
- Refractory Panel Replacement: $450-$650
- Insert Installation: $5,000-$7,000
- Cracked Crown: $150-$2,400
- Crown Replacement: $800-$3,000
- Cap/Chase Cover Replacement: $200-$2,000
- Cracked Flue Tile Repair: $250-$5,000
- Resurfacing Flue: $2,000-$5,000
- Relining or Replacing Flue: $900-$11,000
- Rebuild/Crumbling Brick + Spalling Repair: $1,000-$10,000
- Sealing/Waterproofing: $150-$1,000
- Flashing Repair: $200-$1,500
- Flashing Replacement: $300-$2,500
- Repair Leaning Chimney: $700-$15,000
- Chimney Removal: $800-$3,500
- Repointing/Tuckpointing: $500-$6,000
- Parging: $700-$2,700
- Wood Rot/Chase Surround Repair: $200-$3,500
- Full Chimney Replacement: $4,000-$30,000
Hopefully, now you see why we can’t just give you ‘one cost to rule them all.’ It truly does vary greatly.
When You Have Multiple Estimates, What Can You Do to Make Your Decision Easier?
When you’re weighing your options, consider the factors we listed above, do your research on the company, and go with your gut.
- Reviews can tell you a lot. A company’s website may look great and make amazing claims, but what do their actual customers have to say? Take a look at the reviews of the different companies you’re comparing, and factor those reviews into pricing considerations. And keep in mind, while price matters, it’s not always the most important factor in the decision-making process.
- Ask questions. If you’re comparing multiple quotes and you can’t seem to understand why one company charges more than another, ASK. Reputable contractors will be able to provide sufficient documentation to support their estimate. Photos of the issue in question are one of the best methods of demonstrating the need for repair and (after the repair is completed), the results of their work.
- Different companies have different standards. Homeowners often complain of conflicting inspection reports. One chimney pro says everything is fine, but another report tells a different story. This happens a lot when a home is being sold – the homeowner gets the chimney inspected with the expectation that everything is fine. Then, the buyer asks for an inspection and is given a quote for expensive repairs. What’s going on here? Most likely it’s a different definition of ‘fine.’ Different companies have different standards for what ‘fine’ is. For example, a chimney may be in ordinary condition and working well but may still have many defects. There may be missing mortar or even clearance issues. In other cases, the hearth may not meet the required depth based on the size of the fireplace opening. Some inspectors will consider this a deficiency, while others may not.
How Can You Keep Chimney Care Costs Down?
One important thing to note here is that typically, the most expensive repairs and services are needed because of neglect. Meanwhile, preventive services (like chimney waterproofing) and routine services (like chimney sweepings and inspections) typically cost very little.
So, don’t put off preventive services and routine maintenance. Schedule repairs when an inspection reveals the need for them. Something that costs $900 to fix now could cost $10-$12k to fix five years from now.
Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Chimney Repairs?
If you’re wondering if your homeowner’s insurance will cover chimney repairs, unfortunately, the answer is most likely no. Typically, the only chimney-related repairs insurance will cover are those caused by sudden occurrences – such as chimney fires, lightning strikes, felled trees, etc. Everything else is typically the result of natural wear and tear or neglect, and therefore, not covered by insurance.
Budgeting for a New Appliance
While we’re on the topic of money, let’s talk about some of the costs associated with buying a new fireplace, stove, or insert…
How much does a gas fireplace, insert, or stove cost?
Gas fireplaces, stoves, and inserts run anywhere from a couple thousand dollars to $10k+. Price depends on size, features, design, and type. For example, a direct vent gas appliance will typically cost more than a vent-free appliance.
One thing to remember with gas fireplaces, inserts, and stoves is that you will need to consider installation costs, the cost of venting pipe (if you choose a vented option), and any remodeling and finishing/framing work that may be needed. If you need to run a gas line to your new appliance, that will add to the total cost as well.
How much does a wood fireplace, insert, or stove cost?
A new woodburning fireplace, insert, or woodstove will run you anywhere from close to a grand all the way up to several thousand dollars. Many new woodburning appliances have some pretty incredible features, and those features can quickly increase price.
Additionally, installation costs will vary – depending on difficulty and time involved, and whether you have an existing venting system for the new appliance – but expect to pay several thousand dollars for installation.
How much does a pellet fireplace, insert, or stove cost?
Pellet appliances typically run anywhere from $1k to $5k plus installation. Pellet-fired appliances, like wood and (most) gas appliances, must be vented, so don’t forget to factor those costs in as well.
How much does an electric fireplace, insert, or stove cost?
Electric fireplaces and freestanding stoves can cost anywhere from $180 to $1k+. It all depends on the size you want and how much of a designer look you’re going for. But the good thing about these fireplaces and stoves is that they don’t require any venting, which means, in most cases, you can get away with a zero-dollar installation. Just place it where you want it, plug it in, and relax.
A Little Research Goes a Long Way
We know that ‘it depends’ was probably not the answer you were looking for when you landed here, but that’s the truth! Hopefully, the price ranges we’ve provided here have at least given you a ballpark of what to expect, so you can start planning and budgeting.
But remember, the best way to plan and budget for your chimney maintenance and repairs is to get several estimates from reputable companies with good reviews, good training, and good ethics. So, do a little research, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you want to know what’s affecting price, ask! Any good sweep will be happy to answer.
Psst! If you’d rather skip the time-consuming Google search and start with a smaller list of reputable sweeps in your area, use our search tool right here.